Olivier Dassault, a French billionaire and conservative politician, died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Normandy, the Guardian reports. The helicopter carrying Dassault, 69, crashed shortly after taking off from Deauville, a coastal resort. Dassault’s “brutal death is a great loss,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet. “As a business leader, MP, local councilor, a reserve commander in the air force, throughout his life he never ceased to serve our country, to promote what was great about it,” he said. The helicopter pilot also was killed, per Reuters. Dassault, a father of three, was the grandson of Marcel Dassault, founder of Dassault Aviation, which manufactures military and business jets, according to the BBC.
Dassault was appointed director of civil aircraft strategy at the company in 1986 and then chairman of the Groupe Dassault board in 2011. He later stepped down to avoid conflict of interest related to his political career. Dassault had been a lawmaker in the Les Républicains party since 2002. “Great sadness at the news of the sudden passing of Olivier Dassault,” Valerie Pecresse, a conservative politician in France, said, per Reuters. With a mostly inherited fortune of about $7.15 billion, Dassault, alongside his brother and sister, was considered the 361 richest man in the world. (Read more Dassault stories.)